Chidi Samuel || A newly married man, Francis Azukwo, has been arrested by the police in Lagos for allegedly defiling a six-year-old girl, Ngozi, in the Ikotun area of the state.
The 32-year-old allegedly penetrated the victim’s private parts during the sexual assault which occurred on Owoodu Street, Ijegun.
Azukwo and the victim’s mother, Joy were neighbours and had been living together in the house for some time.
The incident occurred when the victim’s mother who was pregnant at the time, was said to have been rushed to a hospital in the community where she was delivered of twins.
When she was discharged from the hospital, she reportedly noticed the awkward movement of her daughter and a check revealed bruises on her private parts.
On further interrogation, the little girl alleged that Azukwo defiled her.
Confirming the incident one of the neighbours said, “The two of them are neighbours. The suspect stayed upstairs, while the complainant stayed downstairs. The girl’s mother said she had gone to the hospital to give birth, while her husband was away from the house. So, Ngozi was left in the care of a cousin, who was about 16 years old. The cousin was babysitting her”.
“She said when she returned from the hospital, she observed that the girl was not walking properly and she checked her private parts and saw bruises. When she interrogated the daughter, the girl said it was the suspect that defiled her.”
On her part, Joy the girl’s mother while confirming the incident said, “I did not challenge him. I just went to report to the police. He denied the allegation, but my daughter kept pointing at him that he was responsible,” she added.
The case was subsequently reported the Ikotun police division and the suspect taken into custody.
Test at Mirabel Centre, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, revealed that there was penetration and her hymen was broken.
The suspect was arraigned before an Ogba Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
The Magistrate, Tope Ojo, on seeing the charges, invited the parties into her chamber where the little girl continued to point at the suspect as the person who defied her.
He was arraigned on two counts of defilement and indecent assault.
The charges read, “That you, Francis Azukwo, sometime in the month of September 2017, at Ikotun, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did unlawfully and indecently assault one Ngozi (not real name), thereby committing an offence.
“That you, Francis Azukwo, on the same date, time and place, in the aforesaid magisterial district, did defile one Ngozi, thereby committing an offence.”
The offences, according to the prosecutor were punishable under sections 135 and 137 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
The defendant pleaded not guilty and elected summary trial.
Following a request for bail by the defence counsel, Godwin Ohaekwe, the magistrate, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N400,000 with two sureties in like sum.
According to her, “One of the sureties must be a level 12 officer in the Lagos State Civil Service and the other must be a registered property owner in Lagos State. The sureties should present evidence of three years’ tax payments to the state and their addresses must be verified.”
She subsequently adjourned the case till February 12, 2018.